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Poetry 'n Prose

I see in you

For Edward in response to his poem ‘Please do not hurt me’.

O’ child there’s a cluster of stars that will guide your way

Long after the cruel machinations of this world has gone

Where the mind of love will protect you, through the pain of loss

Don’t be afraid, feel this hand of trust, this implicit knowing

Know there is a river of time, of life for those who follow,

this same cluster of stars I see in you.

Star Clusters

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Poetry 'n Prose

Please do not hurt me

A poem by my son Edward, after reading John Boyne’s children’s book The Boy at the Top of the Mountain.

Please do not hurt me, I’m only a child
In this train station all alone
No one to love me,
No one to help me
Everyone is just ignoring me
Making me feel alone

Really in a struggle
Really in a mess
Running to find food and panting breathlessly
As I push through the crowd

Only me sitting there
And only me living there
Trying to find some one to care for me.

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Categories
Poetry 'n Prose

The Brinksman

He ties the edge of the deep ravine
losing himself
in breathtaking terrain
with a finger that points beyond
the common bridleway.

He stumbles on before me
through an unoccupied country
hollering to get up there,
the sweeping cliff tops
crevasses,
in silence and a stillness
as the past and present gathers us for tomorrow.

He takes us along this tunnelling
in dark knowledge
beneath heart-mountain
and human need
where thoughts becomes rift valleys,
a glacial melt, drifting
before the plough, springing
in still water,
where peak mountains quake percussive
with clouds picking out
stormy showers

He leads us upwards through rocks
stepped by danger and discomfort
on the wind’s meandering path
and I, the prodigal son,
following in the extremes,
faltering behind
with distant memories,
love him so.

for my father

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Poetry 'n Prose

Attila and Radnoti

Two Hungarian poets towering
Over my inadequate tongue
Penning the pain
The hunger of
Generations
To come.

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Poetry 'n Prose

Beyond the Gates of Nirvana

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Beyond the gates of nirvana
Matter with all its dimensions
like snowflakes, will be melted down to images,
and images into the nothingness
from which they first emerged.

This is your end and borderland,
the final twist that fate
will ever knot around you. Here all lines
must stop and the entire scope of your consciousness,
like a napkin of intricate fine lace,
be folded back in and upon itself.

This is finality of angles and
very last bowing out of here and there.
Haze and smoke will begin to cover everything:
filigree webs of intermeshed perceptions,
grains of cognition, threads of body’s functions,

All chains of longings, spores of fulfilment, will evaporate in mist, like morning dew.

Categories
Poetry 'n Prose

Tao Dying

Blow on this dandelion,
spread it’s seeds on the wind
I’ll rest in your hand while you’re dying

Your time of times has come,
now is the last of your moments
now you must pass forever out of time.

Categories
Poetry 'n Prose

Tao Life

The future recoils as you approach to catch it in your hand

Hope gets glimpsed, if at all, in heralding and afterglows

Love brushes your cheek before you know who is there

The blue butterfly disappears in the twinkling behind the eye.

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Poetry 'n Prose

Krishnamurti’s Garden

Earth smells rising up,
Weeks of rain unbinds

This winters meadow, under
Foot left sleeping there

In groves, I knew him once
Coaxing fruit or yielding

Some esoteric scheme
Stirring the inside, out of life.

The city closing in could not
Subvert my longing to be lost

In this unpathed garden
Walking with you, alone

And we have so little time
Amongst the fading light but

While I can take these steps,
I’ll embrace the light in you.

Categories
Poetry 'n Prose

Mingle

Maybe our souls do
Mingle when together
Our bubbling blood
The crown of passion and it’s bearer
Together
We returned into the familiar world
Into the lost garden

For a moment we took our place
The immense need for air
Noting the difference, the surprise
Of the turn where my fingers slip
The press of your weight brings me to ecstasy.

And there is no choice about pain,
Knowledge is pain
Although we could live again
Without history, without fear
Our souls,
Intermittently mingling.

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Poetry 'n Prose

The Song of the Stars

In memory of Colin Vearncombe, his sonorous voice still resonates across the void…

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Poetry 'n Prose

New World Amnesia

In the new world
amnesia we
Distance our history
with Syria’s

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Poetry 'n Prose

Kodak Kensho

You stand on another peak, illuminated
in the bracken pointing
your 35mm camera

the wind it brushes your hair wildly
everything else fades
into the distance.

Categories
Poetry 'n Prose

Gutter poem

We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars
Oscar Wilde

These drains haven’t yet dragged
my body into them. The sewer’s sluices
and stenches haven’t yet doused my fire.

My heart is still whole and hopes soars high
high enough, at least, to look to the stars,
to pen this poem.

The night keeps my body awake
to the mosaic of time. The rekindled faith,
that forges our reunion to come.

Categories
Poetry 'n Prose

The Constant Gardener

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If I am honest gardening is one of my least proficient skills. But I want to start again, where I left off as a child, becoming lost in myself to the garden. By this I mean I remember how I used to look at the garden then in a way that I forget myself. There is no self in meditation and there is no self involved in gardening. This being is the true communion of nature. Nature will always be the first and last love of life.

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In the middle of the front garden is the monument of time, the Monkey Puzzle tree. A tree native of South America but resides here and now in Southern Ireland. It is said that it lives for a 1000 years and this is my longing for this tree, to live long past my years, to be loved for generations to come after me. It give a true perspective of nature’s perennial philosophy. Survival.

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And in the back garden the vegetable plots lies waiting for the season to come, the new seeds of life that will wait patiently in the ground for the conditions to be right. It is here that my children will continue to grow the fruits of our labour. Every new leaf will shadow over my ecstatic wrinkled hands, toiling for a generous crop. And nature gives generously. Nature will teach me to be the constant gardener.

Categories
Poetry 'n Prose

Selma

On the other side of the river,
She sees me, smiles and waves.
She cups her hands.
She waves
She calls.

Standing on this side, I wave too, smiling back.
Though I can’t make out her face,
I know her. I know I know her.
Somebody once very close.
‘Selma is that you?’

Approaching me she becomes the water between life and death
But I can’t be sure who
Or which of us is alive.
Or dead.
Or unborn.

‘Selma is that you? Just give me your hand
No you won’t fall
You’re safe and now
the other one
Hold on tight with both hands

The camps have long gone, the soldiers have left
Fear is but the shadow of the past
Far shall we go and high
and nothing will pull us apart
Clear skies and hills overlooking the sea await us

And my guide took me by the hand
and led me
into a darkness that was not a darkness and
into a silence that was not a silence

And paused and said in a voice as quiet as running water

‘You have come from a country where truth
is so trammelled up in clever
elegant words
that only opacity is praised and prized
by the blind
And faithless fools

But if you will listen and open up
Your hands
I shall teach you about truth transparent and pure
as the wind and as impossible to pin down as light.

I listened and was kissed by the light.

Categories
Poetry 'n Prose

Sylvia

Sylvia, I knew your Daddy, the bastard that lives in me
Neglecting each tear that rolled down your face

Feeling cheated by his coldness, he’s gone from your life,
Though lingering like the dead insect against your windscreen
in the December rain,

Like you I dream at night that I am old before my time
Being pulled towards my grave
I take one last breath and die.

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Poetry 'n Prose

Refugee haiku

Young woman’s story
brings on tears, dissimilar 
yet familiar to mine

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Poetry 'n Prose

Nothing’s Changed

You still haunt me, as you did then,
As we wind back the clock,
Feeding the birds,
Talking to pigeons
Disregarding notions of emptiness

Love is insistent as logic, reliable as heartbeat
Obsessive as any anorak spotting train
On a cold Thursday morning,

Yet bound by your voice
That echoes an eternity.
I guessed you’d pick up echoes –
No one else could hear

This ground-bass to mourning
This hum below the surface where the angels play.
And above the swirling stars lights our beginnings,

We were hooked then,
And in the beginning,
Nothing’s changed.

Categories
Poetry 'n Prose

Anniversary

The calendar reminds me
of the years, days, seconds
all this while
listening to my own uncertainties,

fading jangling hypnotic
cacophony out,
lifting the other channel, if I may
on your sonorous voice

breathing mystery into the depth
of longing
that had no belonging
before I belonged to you

Categories
Poetry 'n Prose

Left On Barbed Wire

Turning away
Refugees to humanity

Resilience and hope
Broken promises becomes

Another shade of grey
Soulless birds sing

Deathly indifference
Another kind of torture

No visible scars
Or proof of the infliction

As compassion is
Left on barbed wire

Categories
Poetry 'n Prose

Under a Damascus moon

For Aylan Kudri

He dreamed of a warm bed, each night the pads of feet were soft on the walk up to bed

a fresh pillow that quilted his head for each new dream, that infinitely evolved in his mind

He dreamed of the arms that would cover him when sinking into a lullaby, his eyes closed

his mother’s hands closed his ears from the deafening waves that pounded the boat.

He dreamed of things that fell in the night rattled around in his head, catching memories

playing under street lamps, following the pigeons cooing under a Damascus moon

He dreamed of a new home, a place to breathe far from the tides of injustice that swept him

the sorrow that fill him, the hunger that brought him, to these unforgiving shores.

Categories
Poetry 'n Prose

One

If only I were the grass you walked through
Then you would touch me
If only I were the wind that played with your hair
Then you would hear me

If only I were the wine in your glass
Then you would taste me
If only I were the book you would read
Then you would see me

If only I were the song on your lips
Then you would know my name
If only I were the flame to your candle
Then you would behold me

If only I were the laughter to your koan
Then we would be one

Categories
Poetry 'n Prose

Last Rites

They gathered around the old woman
in the hospice
As the priest gave the last rites
And answers to prayers were summoned from above
To comfort them.

I loved a boy once, she said. He was pure when he fell.
I held him in my arms and kissed him.
In his last letter he told me he was keeping himself for me
That he was never going to leave without me.
He comes back when I’m dreaming.
He places fingers over my eyelids and his smile protects my back.
He has turned into a white owl perched on the eaves.
His hands have changed into wings to take me away
Only then is my soul ready.

Go then I said. Be with him.

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Poetry 'n Prose

They swam naked in the sea

They swam naked in the sea

and sea-water dripped from their skin
and they stroked and licked each other
in the shallows, both of them

drenched in sea

Later with wavelets lapping them
they pooled sea water

in clipped hands

and for an instant saw the moon
reflected in each other’s palms.

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Poetry 'n Prose

Institution

Cedar Ward
Beech Ward
Oak Ward
Ash Ward

Names can deceive but
This is a real place
The nurses also are real
To prove it they don’t wear uniforms.

You can come and go as you please
A garden enclosed is my friend
Under semi-narcosis

When she came out of it she said, I am Hitler’s wife
So the nurses put her in a linen smock
And shut her in a padded room
Sleep – o – gentle sleep

And when she came out of that she screamed and bit the nurses
And overhead up grew
Insuperable highth of loftiest shade.

So the nurses gave her electro – convulsive therapy.
And she quietened down a bit.

A garden is my friend
Her head enclosed in barbed wire.

for Janet, I miss walking in your garden